Thursday

Outdoor runners in the freezing cold weather...

 
 
What's with all of the freaking runners at 6 am in the miserable cold..what are they running from anyways? For crying out loud - at least wait until January 1st to pretend to want to get in shape so the rest of us can enjoy the gluttony of the season! Piss off and go to the gym so I don't have to look outside and see your breath freezing in the air!
Look, I have nothing against running for Pete's sake don't f-n bother me about hating runners.  This past year starting in January I decided to get off of my fat ass and teach myself to run. Ever since 8th grade when my Track and Field coach ran up behind me and said.."wow, you are NOT built for running, why don't you go over to Shot Put with the other big girls and try that..."   I figured her word was as good as gold and that since I was a chubby greek girl with big boobs and huge caboose, I would put my back into throwing that damn ball as far as I could and hang up my running shoes for life.  At 37, however, I thought to myself - hey, I can run to the fridge during a commercial as fast as lightening...I can do this!
So I did. But first, some preparations...Go to Dick's and have salesperson mock me as I asked for directions to best running shoes they carry. Check.  Go to Victoria's Secret for their very shwanky VSX sports line for sports bra that is not made in my size - Check. Buy ipod with running armband because that's what runner's wear.  Now I'm $500 in the hole - I've got to make this work!
 Training day #1  January 6, 2011.  Logged jog time:  1 minute.  Fell onto couch panting and cramping.  Enough for today! Reward myself with large (dark) chocolate bar.  Good effort! Day #2 Logged jog time:  2minutes - repeat...repeat..repeat.  Until I did it! I made it to 8 minutes straight!  I am a runnerrrrrrrrrrrr!  Pounds start melting off - no joke - and by February 1st I am running 10 minutes at a time.  TAKE THAT YOU STUPID F-N TRACK COACH! I'M NOT A LOSERRRRR! (in my best Adrienne voice from Rocky)
Continue training 5 x a week for merely 30 minutes a day of pathetic jogging.  Let's be honest. I hate every f***ing second of it..but I am LOVING the fact that I am doing something I didn't think I could do.  I keep focused on the Biggest Loser contestants who are easily 200 lbs heavier than I am and running 3x as much and it helps me to stay on track.  I yell profanities at myself while running.."keep running you idiot!" and "you did this to yourself so shut your piehole!"  Laughing at my self-loathing propels me to keep running!
April comes around and I am getting overconfident.  I look over at Hubs - who has been a runner for YEARS and even has the Boston Marathon under his belt (eyeroll)...and say, 'there is a 5k tomorrow morning down the road - I think I'm ready.'  He jumps out of his chair, overly excited and way overconfident in my ability to do this.  I don't know what the hell I have just done.  How far is 5K anyway? I did terribly in Math.  I have no idea how to convert to miles - I don't know why I even opened my mouth - I am destined to fail and this is it for me..me and my stupid ideas.
We arrive 45 minutes early.  I am frump girl since I decided my VSX was too revealing to run in.  I have a long sleeved, oversized tshirt that says "if you can read this you're too close" that makes me look bloated and out of shape, along with stretched out  bellbottomed yoga pants with a bleach stain on the knee and my only accessories are a worried look on my face and bags under my eyes from no sleep.  I look around - these people are tools.  They have excited grins on their smug, sunken in faces, and are doing the most obnoxious stretching that I have ever seen.  I look at Hubs. He knows I'm annoyed.  "I hate runners."   He nods at me, trying not to throw fuel on the already blazing fire.  My inner demons start having a chat inside my head at my mental coffee table..
Demon 1 to Demon 2 - (sipping a latte)...Why on earth did you ever put this idea in her head you evil piece of shit! You know she hates running!
Demon 2 - (smoking)...I was getting rather bored with her pure lifestyle and thought I'd throw her to the wolves for entertainment purposes only!
Demon 1 - You really are an asshole you know that!
Back to the starting line.  I notice someone coming through the finish line - and I look at Hubs, puzzled.  WTF.  He looks at me. He hesitates. He winces...."some people like to run the entire 5k for warm up before the race starts.."   Now I am pissed...he's regretting his words.  "These people have been running for years honey, just stay focused on concentrate on YOUR race and don't worry about everyone else's pace."  What the hell does this even mean?  Am I supposed to have a strategy? What IS my pace?  I have no idea - I am just planning on going on there and running and praying I don't twist my ankle or end up in a mud puddle face-down.  Just when I start getting too deep in thought, I am blinded by the pale white thighs of the idiot man in front of me stretching with his stupid f---ng running shorts up his asscrack.  Have I mentioned how much I perfect runners annoy me?
We walk to the starting point.  My heart starts palpitating, I'm sweating and I haven't even done anything yet.  ( I simply refused to stretch not wanting to look like any of the other runners!)  I hear the gun and look around and just about get trampled by the hundreds of runners already annoyed with me for being in their way.  I start to run.  My sheer panic allows me to survive the first 100 yards.  I look down at my footing, I look ahead at my path...it's not looking good. Rainbows of runners pass me on either side and the voices inside my head are urging me to feign tripping and fall over and end the madness.  I ignore them - for once.  I am like a mad hornet now buzzing through the woods of this rural race. 
My husband is next to me the whole time urging me to keep going and telling me I'm doing great.  Just when I think we've got to be at the Finish Line, I hear one of the people yell.."1/2 way there!"  What the ?  It feels like I've been running for an hour already and I am reaching in to the depths of my diaphragm for more breath.  I see  a hill and that's it for me, I start to cry like that blubbering chub from 8th grade that I once was..."RUN FAT GIRL, RUN!" I say!  When I see it - the Finish Line! I am almost there - and I nearly plow over the several senior citizens that I come across in front of me, determined not to let them beat me!  I dig deep and ran like the devil himself was chasing me and bulldozed right over the finish line!  My husband was screaming "you did it, you did it!"  But I could barely hear him over the beating of my heart...I seriously thought I was having a stroke.  I survived. I finished.  And I beat those 70 year olds with a minute to spare!
Once at the Finish Line, I notice the other runners congregating around the food tables, reliving the highs and lows of the course.  I can't do this.  I am not a runner, and I am certainly not going to pretend that this was fun.  Hubs and I make a beeline to the car in silence.  He knows to wait for me to initiate.
"I don't ever want to do this again.."  I said.
Acknowledged.
But I lied.  I went on to run 3 more 5ks in 2011 beating my time on each occasion...and I still hate every second of it.  Look, if I had a point to this story, it would be - don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do something - not even the demons in your head.... Lord knows if I can run - anyone can.
Cheers and Love...
DG

Tuesday

The Dress, The Sprinkler, & The Wardrobe...A Wedding Tale.










Think back to the last time you stayed in a hotel. You know that sign on the wall that says DO NOT HANG ANYTHING FROM THE SPRINKLER!  Well, you can thank me for that. You see, on April 30, 2004 something happened that made hotel managers come together to design that sign:
Me.

I woke up on that beautiful sunny day with a cheery disposition and a pocket full of dreams for the perfect wedding in my beloved Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Little did I know the fairy tale I had in mind had quite the adventure in store for me.
The day before my Wedding, my mom and I headed to the beautiful Sheraton Harborside Hotel.  On our way down, we stopped to pick up my dream dress.  As the seamstress brought it out, she said the words that would forever resonate in my head. "This dress wrinkles very easily, so be careful when you hang it."  My wedding jitters disappeared and my wrinkle worries took over.

We pulled into the turnaround and the hotel Bellhop greeted us and began taking our bags.  He mindfully gave my dress its own luggage cart and I just KNEW by his manner that he had experience with taking care of a nervous bride. Our eyes met and we had an understanding. He had this under control.  I was in good hands.

I headed to the check in desk to get my key.  The hotel was full.  Booked solid.  There was my wedding and a convention of news reporters as well.  The desk clerk regretfully informed me that my room was not ready yet, but that she could put me in my future husband's room for now if I'd like to store my stuff there.  Perfect.  I left my mom in the lobby visiting with family and friends who were arriving one by one and told her I’d be back once I got my things settled in the room.
The Bellhop and I went up to Mark’s room. (He wasn't in town yet since he was tending to a fire from the previous night at his apartment building! But that’s a story for another day! ‘More bad luck,’ as Cosmo from Moonstruck would say.)  The Bellhop asked me where I would like my dress - I said - "I don't care, as long as it is hung high to avoid wrinkling it, it doesn't matter to me!" Next thing I know, I turned around to find him hanging it from the hook on the highest point of the wall - you know- the water sprinkler system?
"More bad luck." ~Cosmo

I was just about to protest when I heard SNAP! He tripped the wire and water started pouring in from all of the heads in the room…I swear there were a dozen of them in that room.

 "MY DRESSSSSSSSSS!!!!" I yelled in slow speed, as I am getting doused - no drenched - in water (dirty, muddy water from it sitting in the pipes for who knows how long)...all over me. The horrified bellhop, reached up to grab my dress and with one swoop he threw it down the hall away from the river of flowing water (I think he had a nervous breakdown along with me during all of this.) At this point - I don't know where he went but as I’m standing between the waterfall and my dress, I noticed a maid’s cart in the hallway and ran over to it and grabbed a pair of rubber gloves. I put the rubber gloves on thinking this will somehow protect the dress from my filth (keep in mind I am dirty ..no..muddy) and I go to grab it when I see firemen running down the hall around me thinking there is a fire.  They look at me, puzzled at the sight of me in my gloves as I’m kneeling by the corpse I now call my gown and the look of horror on my face, and they quickly ask if I  know what room the fire is?  "There! The room with the water flowing out of it – wait – WHAT FIRE??? ‘There’s no fire..!’  I yell to them.. as they run past me with a look of concentration, hose in hand - ready for action.  I am even more confused now thinking there is a fire? Where?  I drop my dress in the corridor and run down 5 flights of stairs, since of course, the elevators are disabled due to FIRE.

The hotel has been evacuated and my entire family was now staring at me through the windows in terror and confusion as I was covered in dirt and soaking wet accessorized by maid's gloves. Quickly, both of my sisters- n- law (one is a nurse practitioner and one is a doctor - both bridesmaids) go into emergency reaction mode - they ran back into the hotel and up the stairs to save the 'patient' also known as MY DRESS. Next thing I know, they are carrying my dress like a it’s on a stretcher through the lobby to find me waiting outside. People, mostly reporters and my guests were gathered outside in the hotel turnaround wondering what in the world was going on…dodging the 3 large fire trucks in the parking lot.  As the dress made its way outside, people stared in wonder as the muddy water continued to seep down the protective plastic cover of the dress.  People were whispering and pointing at me - apparently, I am covered in mud, my face, my clothes, my shoes.  I am a hot mess of a bride- to- be.  Total chaos and confusion filled the hotel sidewalks and people tried desperately to understand how the ‘fire’ started.

Meanwhile, the water has now gone through 4 floors of rooms below causing water damage and flooding to the rooms of the sold out hotel. The hotel manager saw me and quickly ran over to me and apologized profusely..."please", he says as he looks at me and my emergency entourage who appear to be frozen in time just holding my gown and waiting for some kind of direction, "tell me what we can do..."

First of all I said, no- I begged,  " Please don't fire the bellhop - he was just trying to hang it somewhere high like I asked him to and he wasn't thinking."

He looked at me, shocked – and did a double take probably expecting I was bridezilla and wanted his head on a silver platter. Done. Next he said, "we are going to drive you to Madeline's Daughter (a famous bridal boutique in Portsmouth) to clean your dress - and if they can't clean it, you can have any other dress there on us." (I was like...Vera Wang...yes!!!)  This isn't so bad, is it?

So the manager drove me and my Sister n Law to the boutique...that had just been remodeled to a pearly white posh, swanky Newbury Street- type bridal salon.  They took one look at me - up and down in the most horrified manner, and asked if I could wait outside for fear of me dirtying their carpet with my muddy shoes! So the hotel manager, my friend and I went next door to Margarita's (of all places) and waited for the stain prognosis of my gown.  About a half hour later, they came over saying they could, in fact, clean it and it would be ready for pick up at 10 am tomorrow morning in time for my wedding day. Whew.  Really? Madeline’s daughter saved the day.

When I arrived back at the hotel, they immediately greeted me at the door saying that I had a room reserved for me temporarily and they gave me a key.  When I entered the room, I plopped down my purse that was still swimming in muddy water and took a look in the mirror. Oh. My. God.  I am covered in splattered mud dots, my shirt, once white, is now beige, and my arms have dried dirt on them. My face is freckled in crusty mud.  I didn’t look like a glamorous blushing bride that had her shit together - I looked like a train wreck. I needed to pull it together - I needed a shower - and fast.

Just as I was about to get in the shower, naked as the day is crazy, the phone rang…and I thought, WHO COULD BE CALLING AT A TIME LIKE THIS??  It was the front desk - telling me I was getting a new room and the bellhop (a new one since they sent the traumatized other guy home for the ENTIRE weekend) would be up any minute to get my things. I quickly got dressed, still dirty and muddy, and there was a knock at the door - he took me and my soaking wet luggage up to the PENTHOUSE suite overlooking the water-- 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, fireplaces, kitchen, veranda - gorgeous! I am exhausted and exhilarated at the same time and as he gets my murky belongings inside  I said, "WAIT!  Here's your tip!" I pull out a drenched $10 bill that I found swimming in the sludge in my purse and had to ring it out before I gave it to him.

He looked at me kindly and sympathetically, "No, I can't."  
But I insisted.  "Please, take it...it'll dry soon enough."
He begrudgingly took the sopping wet money with two delicate fingers and backed away slowly.
I stood back, exhausted, dizzy and giddy at my new digs and thought it really does pay to be nice, now doesn't it? 

I indulged the most glorious shower and took my time getting glammed up for the Rehearsal dinner.  The story was all the buzz throughout the evening as people were exchanging stories of where they were when it happened and how they evacuated the building thinking there was a fire, and how some families were separated and panicking trying to reach each other on their cellphones and searching through the crowds to find their loved ones through the chaos. It was crazy. It was funny, it was totally nuts.  The stories - everyone had a different one - and everyone had a different take on why I looked like I had a mud bath - and why I had gloves on - and did a last minute hair color attempt go wrong and explode all over my face or was I applying a pre-wedding mud mask and something went wrong?  So funny.

Forward through to the next morning, my wedding day. I went across the street to get my nails done and the sweet girl doing my nails started a conversation with me.

"Did you hear about the fire at the hotel that nearly ruined some girl's wedding dress? "  I just looked at her and laughed. MY how the story changed as it spread through town! I cleared the record and she was laughing at how the story got twisted!  THERE WAS NO FIRE!

After my appointment, I picked up my dress and it was nearly perfect with a few minor stains there for sentimental reasons.  The girls at Madeline’s Daughter were wonderful – and I don’t think they were nearly as afraid of me this time, as I was clean and presentable unlike before!  They were happy to help and play a role in my un-fairy tale.

  The hotel staff was so amazing - they went above and beyond to make sure we had the most beautiful wedding day ever - and we did.  Between my poor husband trying to deal with a fire and me trying to deal with a non-fire - we had quite the day leading up to our big night.  In the end, all of our friends and family were there, it was a gorgeous day without a cloud in the sky, and we tied the knot, albeit a dirty one, and even better, we have the best damn wedding story ever.

Moral of the story: Do not hang anything from the water sprinklers...it's a bad, bad idea.  2nd Moral of the Story - Freaking out over stuff and missing the beauty of the story is just not worth it.  I married the man of my dreams - and if I had to do it in a muddy dress, I would've done that too.  It doesn't pay to sweat the small stuff.



Cheers  and Love,
~DG

Monday

Killing Them Softly with Beverages. A Reflection of Poison I've Served My Kids..

I've had it. Everytime I turn around I am reading or finding out about a new way I'm poisoning my kids. Let's reflect...

First let's tackle infant formula.  And since this will no-doubt offend several of my followers (again, proving my husband is correct that you are nobody until somebody's offended...), let's get it out of the way.

I failed (big surprise) at breastfeeding.  But see friends (can I call you that?), I didn't just fail once and call it a day.  I failed miserably with all three children - however, I did manage to squeeze (male readers skip ahead a few paragraphs) out enough breastmilk to ward off the Evil Lactaction Consulant-Swat Teams that lurk on the Maternity Wards watching and waiting for any sleep-deprived, disillusioned new mother to fail.  See, usually with child #1, this is the photo we see in the hospital brochures or ob/gyn waiting rooms that give us that first misconception of the pleasantries (not) of breastfeeding. I had to use a cartoon because I don't want to post a real photo (there are hundreds if you image search for breastfeeding moms..) of these women who go to Picture People and get naked and smile for the camera while breastfeeding - setting the rest of us moms up to think it's truly a lovely and enjoyable experience. (ok, here we go - some of you are saying  - 'ohhh yes, i loved every second of breastfeeding..' that's great - please don't read any further then!)
My experience with my first child was to put him right on to breastfeed - how hard could that be? Since I didn't pay attention in my Childbirthing class, I did not realize you had to break the seal of his latch with your finger so he doesn't rip the nipple off.  People were coming in and out of my room like I was a museum exhibit - but when all of a sudden a male Pediatrician came in  to 'check' on the baby - WITHOUT knocking, I ripped Deano off my nipple, losing most of the skin along with him.  'CAN YOU KNOCK NEXT TIME SO I HAVE A MINUTE TO PUT MY SIZE 34 F'S IN THE CLOSET BEFORE YOU COME IN?'  I blame him for my failure. I also blame the fact that it felt like someone hooked up a Dyson to my nipples. I will skip through all of the gory details and get back to my theme of poisoned infant formula. (SIDE NOTE: YOU KNOW THE LOUD SCREAMS YOU HEAR ON MATERNITY FLOORS? IT'S NOT WOMEN  GIVING BIRTH IT'S WOMEN WHO ARE BREASTFEEDING!)

As I went to the drug store, I quietly looked for the aisle marked 'SO YOU'VE FAILED AS A MOTHER AND NEED TO PAY FOR FORMULA TO FEED YOUR CHILD.'  I found a small selection of infant formulas in the baby aisle and while I was looking them over, a fellow new mom was looking over Nursing Pads while cradling her baby in a Baby Bjorn. She looked at me in disgust, shook her head and walked away.  Whatever whacko! Go stuff your bra with pads boo hoo hoo I am a horrible mom..judge away and hate me because my boobs won't be down to my ankles by the time my kids reach toddlerhood!  I figured  I couldn't go wrong with the most expensive of the formulas..I mean aren't there some things money can  buy? Enfamil...the formula of champions!

Fast forward a few years..and a few children. My two youngest are 13 months apart.  If you can imagine, there is not a lot of extra time, patience or energy to breastfeed every 2 hours without having  a toddler escape up the stairs while I am attached to an infant and a chair.  I go back to Enfamil - only this time, it's Premium and the price has doubled!! Ahh yes, my youngest gets an even better formula, he will be even smarter than the others! And as always, I am HAPPY to pay for this price and intelligence increase!

I power up my laptop to see what the rest of the world is up to and there it is...the heading of the article,

"Traces of a chemical used in rocket fuel were found in samples of powdered baby formula, and could exceed what's considered a safe dose for adults if mixed with water also contaminated with the ingredient, a government study has found."

Enter lactation nazi voices.."see, another reason why breast. is. best."   SHUT UP VOICES IN MY HEAD, SHUT UP VOICES IN MY HEAD!!

Now I've done it.  What the hell do I do now???  I switched to a $50/can Organic Formula, forcing our darling baby to drink away his entire college education.  If I would've just let my nipples 'toughen up' as breastfeeders like to say!  If I would've just 'stuck with it' and 'not given up' as pro-sucklers call it!  If I would've just gone to ONE STINKIN LA-CAFE-CON-LECHE LEAGUE MEETING!  Nope! I was a quitter...and quitters must PAY!  I tried...I did.  I tried once, twice, three times...I failed. But I scratched and fought my way to the one year mark when I could finally have all three children on cow's milk. WHEW! Crisis averted!

Now, I just need to make sure that none of the milk that I buy comes from cows that were given Crack or Prozac. Sigh.

Move along.  I am sitting at the school park watching my thriving (what a miracle I've helped them get this far in life!) children run and jump and play.  My cell phone rings...it's my mom..her voice sounds ominous.

"Andrea, I was just watching Dr. Oz (oh God here it comes...) and he had an entire program about Apple Juice and how it is contaminated with arsenic.  What kind do you use again?"

Me...sheepishly..."Motts."

Mom..."Oh Boy, that was one of the juices with the highest levels of arsenic. Dr. Oz said Motts had 5 times the acceptable level of arsenic.  You'd better not give them any more of that and switch to organic."

Me..."Thanks for the newsflash mom...talk to you later!"  (mental note:  add this to the 250 other things to worry about when I go to bed at night, right after Red #40 causing Mentally Unstable Children, and Rat droppings in Peanut Butter...other findings on Dr. Oz's show (kidding, not verified..))

As soon as I get home, like a good Dr.Oz-fearing soldier,  I do a quick inventory and decide to let this be the very last bottle of apple juice I buy for my kids.  After all, I have been buying it for what THREE years, multiply that by how many glasses a day...and I've poisoned a small village of children.  WAY TO GO MOM! My kids are facing the possibility of growing another ear...is this so bad, maybe with 3 ears they'll actually listen when I say something?  I digress...

I reassure myself that I will stick with non-steriodal milk and not-from-concentrate-nor-from-China- Orange Juice.  My kids unknowingly accept the change with the ignorance they could've only inherited from me and we make a smooth transition to an arsenic-free life.  I feel like Dr. Oz would be proud. Mission Accomplished! (but as with George Bush's premature statement, I was too confident too soon...)

Several days ago, I opened my precious Yahoo frontpage to find this heading,

Orange Juice's 'Secret Ingredient' Worries Some Health-Minded Moms

Awesome.  What's the Secret Ingredient? Fuel? Window Cleaner? Antifreeze?  And W-T-F  is with the title? Health-minded moms? As opposed to who??? Are their moms out there that are really hoping to put disgusting additives in their kids juice??

Formula?  Nope.  Milk? Sure, if you'd like your child to develop breasts at 7. Apple Juice? Nope. Orange Juice? Again, NO.  Water? Only if filtered by Nikken Rocks, served 6 degrees over room temperature and filled with enough flouride to appease your dentist but not too much to turn their liver blue.  What's left? 

Well kids...your choice is Coffee, Beer or Yoohoo.  Enjoy.


Until next time, my fellow underachievers....I'm failingly yours,

DG

Saturday

A Trip to Disneyworld; aka...StrollerDerby

Our oldest is 11 1/2 years old...followed by the two little ones 4 and 3.  Do you know how many times we've been asked/chastized/accused...YOU'VE NEVER TAKEN THEM TO DISNEY? We knew we couldn't put off this trip much longer.  Society is cruel and quick to judge you as a bad parent for not wanting to sacrifice most of your 401K to take a family of 5 to the happiest place on earth.

We finally bit the bullet and decided on when, how, where...etc. A few short months later, it was set in stone..we were now worthy parents back in the game of life. Let's do a recap of what it took to actually book this vacation...and then I will begin my comparison to the hairpulling, ankle demolishing game of RollerDerby.


PICKING A DATE

There once was a time where there were ten months you could choose from and the park would be 1/2 empty.  Now, there are ten days to choose from.  We chose the first two weeks in November.  Just when I thought I had researched everything and booked the trip, someone (and everyone has their stupid opinions when it comes to Disney..)  ohhhhh, that's when New Jersey has vacation... (keep that in mind for later in the blog).


AIRLINES

Best way to go from New Hampshire is Southwest Airlines - they have a nonstop in to Orlando - however, you have to wait for them to open reservations for that month...and no one knows exactly when that will happen except for the few Southwest Nuts in this world.  I just happen to be very good friends with a self-proclaimed Disneyholic who told me the exact time and date those fares would be released. The date: May 24, the time: 5:00 am.  How do I still know this? Because the fear of God and all that is holy was burned into my soul if I did not book my tickets the first day those fares were released.

At 4:58 am, I sluggishly and fearfully got out of bed and shuffled downstairs to my laptop, got my gameface on (actually it was just smeared mascara and eyeliner from being too lazy to wash my face the night before)..and was ready to book. 5:02 am - fares are not released yet, refresh...fares not released yet, refresh, fares not released yet, refresh...falling asleep at computer 6:05 am fares are not released yet...get up make coffee...fares not released yet...coffee refill x 3....shaking and convulsing from caffeine mixed with fear ...8:04 am refresh..FARES AVAILABLE - YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Booked all 5 tickets for an amazing $303each..surely this is nothing short of a miracle of which I am not worthy! It has been an exhausting 3 hours but I am feeling proud as a parent that I put the effort in to secure $1500 worth of airline tickets to get us to the most wonderful place in the world...


VILLA

Nothing funny or entertaining about booking one of the 25,000 empty rentals due to slow economy in the greater Orlando area.  We booked a 5 bedroom easy peasy no problems. ;)


RENTAL CAR

Apparently renting a car in the Orlando area will cost you one of your children's 4 year college tuition. Sorry, no discounts apply.  Exaggerating...really just cost a 2 year local community college degree.

PARK TICKETS

Please don't be stupid (as we were)...these will cost you as much as your airline tickets...and you will hand over your credit card without complaining to the Cast Member at the Ticket office - they will smile at you as they give you the monetary figure you owe...and you will take the financial beating from Uncle Walt without batting an eyelash...it is your debt to society to bring your children here - are you really going to complain about paying for the joy???

OK - now the fun begins...You've parked your rental (that looks exactly like everyone else's rental so you better pay attention to what lot and number you are parking in or there will be blood!), you've taken the tram (at this point you have already started feeling the competitive side in you come out as you pass several groups headed toward the last few spots on the tram), you've gotten through ticketing without passing out from financial exhaustion, you are IN the park! Here's where the roller derby starts.

We had a double stroller...and our 11 year old...we are 5 strong...solid..we occupy our space approximately 4 feet by 4 feet and try very hard not to stray from that dimension as we walk down main street.  Our first obstacle, families stopping dead center to have their photo taken with the castle behind them. We decide on a family photo as well, trying to be obedient park go-ers..only we humbly step off to the side to be thoughtful to those trying to walk a straight line. We take our photo, regroup and refocus.

We go around other families stopping..a nervous giggle comes over us as we are in a good position, walking a good pace to get to our first destination - Buzz Lightyear's Shoot em up whatever it's called...it's in Tomorrowland - and as we progress and the traffic and stupidity multiplies, we realize, it will fufill its prophecy and with any luckwe will get there some time tomorrow.

People are stopping left and right, causing us to nearly take women and children out with our stroller. My husband is looking like he might get agitated as the blood is rushing to his face. I am already annoyed just by the coy smiles of most of the moms around me. Am I an agoraphobe? Perhaps - but I am feeling my blood vessels constrict as we make our way through the rush of people toward tomorrowland and feel the RollerDerby begin.  Now we are in a fight for our lives..for our children's lives.  WE'VE PAID THROUGH THE NOSE...WE'RE ENTITLED...WE WANT OURS...TICK TOCK..WE NEED OUR MONEY'S WORTH! Ok that's what everyone is thinking too - as they cut us off, stop in front of us, pass us to the left, pass us to the right... We're getting angry.  10 minutes into the first day at the park.  WE ARE ROLLERDERBY! ONE TWO THREE TEAM CONDO!

Now we walk upright and with purpose...we are not taking anyone's shit! We listen to conversations as we pass families en route to Buzz..."pick it up Tony you're letting people pass us!" an obnoxious skinny bitch yells at  her husband directing her anger towards us. "I wish you would shut your piehole already.."  he snaps back. Reference:  new jersey vacation week.   Fear sets in - these are not just other parents...these people are from jersey.  We are in the middle of JERSEY SHORE DISNEYWORLD!  They will cut your heels with their pimped out strollers (equipped with studded tires) and make you grateful for leaving your toes unscathed as they run over your children.  We are in a league bigger than us. We are fearful and angry...and we want revenge.

We finally arrive at Stroller Parking for Buzz's ride when I notice most of the high end jersey stroller derby rides are parked in a nice line one after the other...all of them - not some but alllll of them with a Gucci, Coach, Fendi, etc diaper bag draped over the hand bar.  Is this a joke? I don't even leave my $5 consignment shop bent umbrella stroller anywhere it could get stolen let alone leave my TJ Maxx Clearance nylon backpack for someone to take! Who ARE these people? And what the hell makes them SO arrogant that they would be comfortable just leaving their thousand dollar bags out in the open for hundreds and thousands of people to contemplate stealing?  The mere question makes me shudder and I carefully park our pathetic wirey stroller next to them. It feels like a Pinto next to a Mercedes..but I refocus and move on.

We make it through the first day at Magic Kingdom, overhearing countless arguments between spouses, hundreds of complete meltdowns of oversunned, oversugared toddlers in strollers..."BUY ME THAT PRINCESS COSTUME NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWW" and we go back for more the next day to Animal Kingdom.  Skip forward several hours and several rounds of rollerderby, we have whiplash from slamming on the brakes to avoid running people over, our feet and egos are bruised,we are broke and tired...but we must perservere! We have yet one more day in our $5000 3 day pass! (kidding, not that much..)

Final day is Hollywood Studios.  At this point, most of New Jersey is in the park...everywhere you look someone resembles Theresa from the Housewives of New Jersey (overdone, overdressed, and walking around in Manolo Mules), and every man looks like a 'carmine or a vinnie' from a mob family that will take you out if you look at him wrong or bitch slap you leaving an imprint of his thick gold bracelet on your cheek.  We are compliant. We walk in unison, heads down, fearful of confrontation.  We accept our fate of choosing the wrong week to visit heaven on earth.

We gratefully wait in line for almost one hour for the Toy Story Midway Mania ride when we are easily almost to the front when a jersey family starts pushing their family through a crowd saying..."we're looking for our kids, excuse us, we are looking for our kids..." They skip to almost the front of their line where they find their kids (early twenties and part of the mob)...people are pissed, the crowd starts protesting...f words flying around like Tinkerbell's pixie dust.  We are not at the happiest place on earth.  We are in a scene from the Sopranos go on Vacation and our kids are going to get a lesson in survival!  The crowd is pissed. We can't see what happened to that family but agree to each other that being security at Disneyworld in the middle of jersey vacation week must suck big time! Our nerves are shot, the kids are cranky, we're bloated and weak...we muddle through a few more hours when exhausted, the kids let us off the hook..."can't we just go back to our villa now and swim?"  ((SEE PHOTO BELOW)).   God we have great kids.

So yes, get off our backs...we went...we derbied...we lost..but we gave it a hell of a fight for 3 long sweaty days.  Team Condo got knocked out of the game at lap 4 but we gave it our all...we still have scars on our ankles and elbows  to prove it.  Now people ask..."when are you going back to the happiest place on earth?" Our answer. We're here. We're home.

Thursday

I Shouldn't Need a Coal Miner's Hat and a Hazmat Suit in a Clothing Store

Holiday requests have prompted me to revisit Abercrombie and Fitch..a place I swore I'd never go in again after knocking over the stansions by the register with my double stroller 3 short years ago when my boys were babies.

((On that particular day I had to do a return, and there was no other size for me to exchange so I bought a t-shirt of lesser value by a few dollars - at the register the exchange rang up $-4.99; the associate or model as they are called...said 'ok you owe me $4.99.  I was stunned, and almost questioned myself for a minute - but stood strong and said, "actually that - sign means there is a credit due so you actually owe ME $4.99...she said, "no, i'm pretty sure that means you owe ME $4.99 - would you like me to get my manager?"  Ok - so at this point, i have two kids under 2 years old being blasted out by music and stink and now she is pushing me to my limit. 
'PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND DO NOT DO THAT AS I AM PRETTY SURE YOUR MANAGER WILL NOT THINK THAT IS FUNNY..' 

She stared at me, and knew I wasn't joking...with great hesitation she opened her drawer and gave me my change of $4.99 and sent me on my way....)) 

As I went in search of a hoodie for my middleschooler, my senses were attacked full on the second I walked in.  As if the white skin of the 12 foot naked boy model wasn't enough to blind me, the club-like volume of the techno music made my organs vibrate from within.  I looked over at the 75 pound associate and I saw her lips move as if she was saying something but couldn't hear her.  I just smiled and went on my way.  I couldn't see the sizing because it was so dark in there.  I struggled to find the right size, and did a double take at the price.  I just wanted to get the hell out of there as the smell of the cologne was making my nose run.  I headed to the registers and none of the idiots who 'work' there were anywhere in sight.  Since I have all the time in the world, I just stood there like a good soldier, paralyzed by the sights and sounds, and don't forget smells of this wretched store.  Finally! An associate says, I can help who is next.  I look around just making sure I am the only one in line - and I am. 

 I move forward to pay and she says, "did you find everything ok?"  I'm like "I'M SORRY,WHAT? I CAN'T HEAR YOUUU.." 

Now apparently she is annoyed at the fact that I am sarcastically complaining about the loudness of the music and decides not to further engage in conversation.  After taking at least 10 minutes to remove the security tab, she sends me on my way - no thank you no nothing.  I feel bad for her. I can't help it.  She is being destroyed by the horrific conditions she has to work in.  I recently came across a site that lists the pros and cons of working there and found this line from a poster humorous:


Horrible work environment! Loud music and the smell of cologne all shift long. Dark environment. Everything had to be perfect. Its very repetitive. This company is very shallow and really does discriminate against people. I am surprised they aren't sued everyday. Don't work here if you have half a brain.

I find myself missing the days of Merry Go Round and Chess King where I was happily greeted by colorful kids wearing MC Hammer pants and so happy to help you find what you needed - but only if you asked them..no one every bothered you back in the day. Now you get "can I help you find something?" and I oblige and say blah blah this is what i am looking for.. and they quickly answer with.."yeahhh everything we have is out..."  Customer Service is Dead.

~DG

Let's start with the holidays shall we?

How very ironic that I will start writing my blog during the busiest time of the year for moms.  I am thinking, to be honest ( and I will be honest and true no matter how many of my readers I offend..sidenote my hubby quoted this morning, and he tends to throw out stats a lot being an engineer..that most columnists offend 51% of their readers..), that the real reason I am writing this, is to pretend I have something better to do than to tackle the mound of presents that need wrapped.  Being the underachiever mom that I am (and I use this in a sarcastic way because really, I am an overachiever gone-wrong...meaning, I attempt to go above and beyond for all things in my life, but fail miserably most of the time).  For example, I signed up to bring cut-out cookies for my kids' preschool Christmas (oops! can't say Christmas anymore..HOLIDAY or green/red parties..or Winter Solstice Celebrations - whatever the heck they are supposed to be called these days.. parties (they are 3 and 4 years old, and my oldest is 11..thank goodness he doesn't have any more of these to worry about.)...whoa, I digress...which I do often...back to the cookies.  So I think, I will make these beautiful cookies and personalize them and won't all of the other mom's envy me for my creativity and overall awesomeness.  Well, I am pretty sure I f-d up most of the kids names...Caden instead of Cayden..Dominic instead of Dominick, you get my point....  Can you imagine how pissed the moms will be bc I spelled their kids names wrong?  The second part I screwed up was the writing on the actual cookie with a squeeze bottle.  It looks like one of the preschoolers wrote their names on it. So, that is a prime example of me aiming high - as if to jump the high jump and then jump 6 inches off the ground and fall onto the mat exhausted. I should have just signed up for the paper plates.  Sigh.

Christmas Decorations: (like how I changed the color? don't get used to it, it took too long to do..)
First of all, I still have my Thanksgiving/Autumn/Halloween style wreath hanging on my porch.  My Christmas wreath is buried at the back of my garage.  It would take 6 minutes total to switch them, but since I am now a blogger, I just can't spare that kind of time in my day.  I plan to get this done on the 24th of December and probably won't take it down until probably the day before Easter.  Hanging on our ceiling  beam is a countdown chain the kids made at school.  It still has exactly 14 links..the exact amount they came home with.  I just haven't found the time to gather them together to experience the removing of one link per day...it was just too big of a goal to accomplish this time of year. The kids don't seem to mind.
Christmas Cards (wow, I am becoming more motivated to do more just writing this one blog..)
This year, I made a promise to myself to plan ahead.  I designed our family card in early November and ordered them.  Somehow, unbeknownst to me of course, I ordered the square size.  Once I added up the cost of the cards, shipping, and the 66cents it cost to mail each card ($1 for all of our Canadian family), I realize that I could've sent everyone a box of chocolates and saved money.  Note to the wise (or just ignorant) - do not order square cards unless you have a ridiculous amount of money to piss away. 
Holiday Stupidity (a general rant)
There is a local business in town that likes to use his sign on the road to make public rants ( I should not squawk at this because I would probably do the same if I were him..).  After 12 months of enduring his stupid messages about how miserable he is - oh and many christian like posts and bible quotes, I could plow my SUV into his sign after his latest.  'MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALMOST EVERYONE..'  What the hell does that even mean?  merry christmas to my fellow right wing nut jobs and everyone else can f- off? Merry Christmas to everyone who shares my stupidity?  I don't even know who he is talking to.  How can you preach Christianity all year long and then finish off the year with that message?  I don't know.  I like to think that God has a special place for all of those idiots that talk out of both sides of their mouths.
That's all for now.  Happy Holidays to almost all of you!
~DG

There are several other headings under Christmas that I would like to tackle - but for now, I feel tired and overexerted.  Stay tuned for when I conjure up enough energy to write part 2 of Christmas rantings and what nots.